De Guindos rules out contagion but calls for "conclusive" accord

Brussels, Mar 24 (EFE).- Spain's economy and competitiveness minister, Luis de Guindos, on the weekend ruled out the possibility that the Cyprus financial crisis could result in wider contagion among European economies but he also warned of the risk if the Eurogroup does not forge a "conclusive" agreement on Sunday to resolve the island nation's economic troubles.

"The possibility of contagion would be evident if the economic and monetary union cannot agree on a conclusive solution for Cyprus and avoid undesirable solutions for the whole union," said De Guindos upon his arrival at the extraordinary meeting of the Eurogroup in Brussels to deal with the matter.

The minister also said, however, that the Cyprus case is "rather exceptional, it's unique in its characteristics."

The island nation, the minister said, has a multidimensional banking system and a very high percentage of deposits by non-residents - many of them Russians - and these are "questions that are only extant in the Cypriot economy."

He therefore made a point of saying that, under those circumstances, "the possibility of contagion is ruled out" although he did call on the Eurogroup to arrive at a "credible" solution to the problem.

Cyprus, he noted, represents just 0.2 percent of the Eurozone's GDP, but he said that the current difficulties "go far beyond the Cypriot economy" and affect the stability of the continent-wide monetary union.

The Spanish minister said that "the most important thing at this time" is for the countries of the Eurogroup to be able to forge a definitive solution for Cyprus and that avoids undesirable situations for the monetary union as a whole.